LETTER xvm DIFFICULT CLIMBING 45 through with one man at his head, and one or two supporting him by his tail. The passage of the V took the caravan an hour, but meantime there was the enjoy- ment of the sight of a confused mass of mountains, whitish precipitous ranges, sun-lit, with tremendous ravines between them, lying in the cool blue shadows of early morning; mountains with long straight -summits, moun- tains snow-covered and snow-slashed, great spires of naked rock, huge ranges buttressed by huge spurs herbage- covered, with outcrops of barren rock,—a mighty, solitary, impressive scene, an uplifted wilderness without a camp. The descent of 4000 feet from this summit consists of any number of zigzag tracks on the narrow top of the narrow ridge of one of the huge rocky buttresses of Gartak, both sides being precipitous. Even on the horse I was dizzy, and he went down most unwillingly, not taking any responsibility as to finding the safest way, and depending solely on my eye and hand. Mirza, being hampered with the care of his own mule, was useless, and otherwise I was alone. These thready zigzags ended on what appeared to be a precipice, from the foot of which human voices came up, shouting to me to dismount. I did so, and got down, hanging on to Screw's bridle, and letting myself down over the ledges by my hands for another hour, having to be careful all the time to avoid being knocked down by his slips and jumps. I could hardly get him to face some of the smooth broken faces of rock. A slide of gravel, a snow-bridge, worn thin, over a torrent, and some slippery rock ledges to scramble over by its side led to a pathless ascent through grass and bushes. The guides and Aziz roared to me from a valley below, by which roars I found my way down a steep hillside to the Gokun, a mountain river of a unique and most beautiful blue-green colour, abounding in deep pools from which it emerges in billows of cool foam.